Al Mohler: SBC is the perfect combination of Sterling Cooper and Dunder Mifflin

Russell Moore is replacing Richard Land as the public face of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Moore, dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been a long-time ally in Al Mohler’s fundie/GOP/creationist/hierarchical insurgency in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. Like his mentor, Mohler, Moore is every bit the culture warrior that Land has been, but he’s a full generation younger. That means he brings a bit more social-media savvy and a bit less of Land’s grumpy-old-white-guy vibe. The difference is a bit like the contrast between Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan — similar views substantively, but the younger man lacks the older man’s palpable discomfort at the presence of others who are not part of the old-white-guy club.

Russell Moore will replace Richard Land as the Southern Baptist Convention’s political spokesman.

Richard Land, you’ll recall, wound up getting a slap on the wrist last year for embarrassing Southern Baptists with his ugly, old-school racist commentary about slain teenager Trayvon Martin. It only got worse when it turned out that Land’s rant was plagiarized from a disreputable right-wing newspaper columnist. Russell Moore may agree with every point of Land’s anti-feminist, anti-gay, anti-science, anti-modern culture-war agenda, but he at least recognizes that one shouldn’t say things like that in public in the 21st century. Moore also appreciates that plagiarizing commentary isn’t something you can get away with in the age of Google.

Moore’s promotion is a triumph for his old general, Al Mohler. Mohler is delighted to have one of his lieutenants taking over this high-profile position in the SBC. For Mohler, this is a final piece of his consolidation of power in the denomination — one last triumph in the Republican coup he began 20 years ago when he first started seizing control of denominational institutions, purging them of “liberals,” women, moderates and Arminians.

For an inadvertent example of what Moore brings to the table that Mohler lacks, just consider Mohler’s attempt to incorporate a pop-culture reference into his praise for this appointment:

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said Moore — who had been head of the seminary’s theology school — is “unabashedly committed to the same convictions” as Land but uses newer cultural skills — including Twitter.

“It’s the difference between Mad Men and The Office,” said Mohler.

I think Mohler was trying to say that Moore will be more hip and contemporary than Land, but I don’t think comparing him to Michael Scott really conveys that.

Nor is it really helpful for Mohler’s cause to point out that the Southern Baptist Convention today really is exactly like a hybrid of Sterling Cooper and Dunder Mifflin.

But hilariously awkward comments like that aren’t the biggest problem Mohler has recently created for his old sidekick Moore. The far larger problem is that shortly after Moore accepted leadership of the SBC’s “ethics commission,” Al Mohler turned around and put the denomination on record as a defender of church leaders who abuse children.

And unlike Mohler’s gloriously botched attempts to make “relevant” cultural references, that’s not funny at all.

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  • flat

    political megachurches, excuse me I have to weep in a corner.

  • Nirrti

    Millions of Americans living in poverty, a joke of a healthcare system, and no jobs…yet these shitbirds are up in arms about teh uppity womenz, gheys, and liberals. There is no PR person in the world talented enough to polish that turd and make it platable for anyone younger than Boomers.

  • Sometimes I think it’s not about the money at all. Sometimes I think the money is just a way to make the “scandal” part of “sex scandal” go away and it’s really all about enabling sex, allowing one to think about sex all the time (especially dirtyfilthy gay sex), to engage in secret sex with secret sex workers and to shut up the victims of sexually abused children.

    It’s thoughts like these which make me want to give in to despair, but I don’t. As bad as the Southern Baptists are at being the organized crime syndicate of shaming their secret fantasies, I know that their views and opinions are gradually becoming the minority. Their power base is slipping away. Yes, they still own the Republican states, but for how long? How long before the vile shit they continually spew turns off all but the most hardcore fanatics, who struggle to find anyone willing to dedicate their lives (much less the lives of their children) to someone who is unable to function when not in a state of frothing rage over an imagined slight?

    Sometimes hatred doesn’t beget hatred. It just doesn’t beget, period.

  • Hexep

    Always count on human beings to do the fourth- or fifth-worst possible thing in any given situation.

  • “It’s the difference between Mad Men and The Office,” said Mohler.

    “One of these is a work that’s acclaimed by critics, while the other is a comedy that’s run for a few seasons too many. Wait, which one was I comparing us to? Hold on…”

    “I mean to say that one of these is about an era of confronting racism, sexism, and other prejudice and how disaffected privileged white men were by that, while the other is a subject of humor from incompetent persons entrenched in a system of power. Wait, which one did I say we were? Dang it, let’s try again.”

    “You see, one of these has a guy who’s a jerk but lies and covers it up and eventually gets caught. The other has a boss who’s terrible but doesn’t know it, and no one wants to tell him. Now, which one were we again?”

  • P J Evans

    Al put his foot in it the other day by saying that the ELCA as a Lutheran body ‘isn’t really a church’.
    I wonder what else he thinks ‘isn’t really a church’, and why.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Unitarian Universalists for damn sure.

  • Speaking of Trayvon Martin, have you heard the latest? Right-wing blogs and forums are all up in arms because omg Trayvon had a gun and prior convictions.

    Hmph. As though that gave Zimmerman the right to just go haring off after him for another notch on his wall.

  • Nope.

    Vetinari counts on people to be horrible. That’s his excuse for acting horrible. Carrot counts on people to be their best possible selves. And he gets that from them time and time again.

    If human beings were actually so terrible — hell, we wouldn’t have stopped murdering strangers on sight, let alone gotten where we are. The idea that people are inherently bad is an extremely conservative one. Teaching hopelessness is a good way to fool people into thinking they can’t make a difference. But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

  • Any organization that isn’t based on misogyny and homophobia, I’d guess. Remember when Mitt Romney said Mormons are the same as right-wing Christians because they, too, are for oppressing women and non-straight people? The unspoken thing they’re also for, of course, is class warfare of the rich against the poor.

  • Well, these are people who think if a woman has had sex or flirted or seemed sexual in any way, she deserved to be raped. Anything they can find in order to blame victims, they will find. Otherwise their whole world collapses.

  • P J Evans

    They were also going after Martin because there were traces of marijuana in his system. Then you have to explain to them that pot byproducts stick around for a while, and that users are not generally violent. (But they’re supporting a guy who has real anger problems.)

  • Nirrti

    Of course whether Trayvon deserved a bullet had nothing to do with what Trayvon did or didn’t do. It’s *who” he was that made him automatically disposable. I’m so afraid for my 15 year-old black brother I wish I could keep away from civilization…until he’s 60.

  • Not nearly long enough. Kenneth Chamberlain, 68, was gunned down in his own apartment by police officers screaming racial epithets — and the case was dismissed despite a mountain of evidence in favor of the family.

  • Ben English

    I think the idea was that by the time brother is 75 all the neanderthals with guns will have finally been expunged from the police force.

  • Gotchaye

    Someone else involved also had a gun. And prior arrests. Course, his dad was a judge and his resisting arrest with violence was (coincidentally, I’m sure) never proven in court (or taken to court, for that matter).

  • Gotchaye

    Presumably Hexep’s hoping for the fifth-worst instead of the fourth.

  • christopher_y

    Nice idea, but who will be tasked with expunging them?

    [ETA. Link content warning: cruelty to animals.]

  • JustoneK

    this tops even Fred’s line. good god.

  • Cathy W

    And Zimmerman, of course, saw the “I Have Priors” sign that Trayvon Martin was required to wear at all times! ohwait… used his powers of ESP to read the details of his sordid past from Trayvon Martin’s mind? umm…
    …and of course, Florida *does* have the death penalty for Walking With Skittles While Having Prior Convictions, right?

  • We have the death penalty for all sorts of things here. Not Being Able To Afford Health Insurance, Being A Black Male Teenager, Driving On The Overcrowded Roads With People Who Cannot Drive…

    There’s also the Getting Too Close To An Alligator one, due to our stealing so much habitat, but I think that one’s alligator-imposed.

  • Hexep

    Because both Vetinari and Carrot are fictional characters, I remain unconvinced by your use of them as example of a broader principle.

  • Okay, so how about all of human history? Then vs. now? Also, good fiction tells us truths about humanity.

    And I’m supposed to take your simple, extremely cynical assertion as fact? When it completely contradicts everything I’ve both learned and experienced in my own life? There are certainly some people who usually do bad things. And there are some times when a large amount of people do bad things — mostly because they have control over larger groups of people whom they’ve cowed into submission.

    I am a woman talking to men who live on the other side of the globe on equal terms. I am literate, as is almost everyone in my country and many other countries around the world. My husband does not own me — under the law, we are equal partners. I was married by a black woman in a civil service. I have control over my own fertility. I’m disabled and unable to work, but a combination of the government and my family supports me. Anyone who tries to tell me people will always do bad things has to contend with how the hell we ended up here. Oh, and we haven’t blown ourselves up with nuclear weapons yet, either.

    Plus, your assertion was incredibly broad. Human beings ALWAYS do the fourth or fifth worst thing? In ANY situation? Really? That is a simple untruth.

  • FearlessSon

    I would argue that Altemeyer’s research into “social dominators” would be applicable. They are the ones who think that you have to screw over other people before they screw over you, that the world is dog-eat-dog, and that anyone trying to be kind is just a sucker.

    They are only a small part of the population, but unfortunately they have a disproportionately large effect on everyone else. They are the kind of people who learned early in life that being a ruthless dickhead works, for getting them what they want and damn the rest.

    In some ways, they just never grew up, morally speaking.

    I might believe that someone who thinks that people in general are irredeemably horrible does so out of cynicism, having trusted and having that trust abused by too many bad people. But I would be more often inclined to think that such sentiment is instead a rationalization for someone to act like an asshole.

  • Hexep

    I’m not going to do this if it’s just my assertion vs. not my assertion. Go on, then, make a counterclaim.

  • reynard61

    “Oh, and we haven’t blown ourselves up with nuclear weapons yet, either.”

    “Yet” being the operative word in that sentence. The Atomic Age is still young, after all…

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Are Fundevangelicals still pretending they can tolerate Mormons, or are they done with that now that Mitt lost?